Trained Roman soldiers who crucified men for a living concluded that he was dead. As one of the soldiers went to break the legs of the three on the cross, he realized that Jesus was already dead. To make sure, he stuck his spear into Jesus’ chest cavity. This trained soldier concluded that Jesus was already dead. Also before the body of Christ would be released to Joseph of Arimathea, there would have been required a certificate of death by Pilate. 1
One proof that Jesus was dead is that Pilate allowed Joseph of Arimathea to take the body.
Some would like to believe that Jesus did not die on the cross. They would say that he was placed in the tomb still alive. There were testimonies from the Roman soldiers, the centurion, and disciples that embalmed Jesus that all said that he was dead. (John 19:32–34, 38–42; Mark 15:44, 45) Those who think that Jesus did not die but only appeared to be dead believe the “swoon theory”. They would claim that Jesus was revived in the cool tomb, but one must be reminded that:
Jesus had been scourged, crucified, and pierced by a spear. He was three days in the tomb without food, water, or medication. How could he revive, roll away the huge stone, evade the guards, walk the length of Palestine, and still appear healthy enough to convince the skeptical disciples that he was resurrected? This would be a miracle almost as great as the resurrection!2
A second proof is that you only bury dead people.
1. Will Durant, Caesar and Christ (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1944), 573.
2. www.BibleStudyLessons.com. assessed in the Fall of 1996(?).